Oh dear. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I've just wasted ninety minutes of my life, and here I am documenting it. Let this then serve as a warning to those who come after me. 'House of the Dead' is quite possibly one of the worse movies to crawl into theatres during my moviegoing years. I just don't really understand how this movie got made, much less distributed. Joke's on me for watching it.
Loosely based on Sega's pretty enjoyable video game series of the same name, 'House of the Dead' acts as a prequel. Following a shockingly bad opening sequence that's just warped footage from the video game, a voiceover introduces us to five of the main characters, and lets us know they're all going to end up dead. They've just missed a boat to an island referred to as (insert muffled laughter) 'Isla de Morta'. Yep. You see, the 'rave of the year' is being held on this island, and is apparently being thrown by Sega. So after bribing the infamous and unfortunately named Captain Kirk, they set off for the island, being tailed by two of the coastguards finest, McGuyvers and Casper.
Arriving on the island, they find everyone missing. This obviously calls for some splitting up, some old fashioned stumbling through the woods, and an interrupted love scene. We're introduced to our narrator, and some flaky ass characters. Let the undeadening begin! Fast forward (no, seriously... please fast forward) to a character being knocked off, and Casper (I didn't hear her rank, there was a lot of screaming going on, most of it was me) shows up with a weapon to make Neo proud. Good 'ol Kirk turns out to be a weapons smuggler, with a trunk full of designer weapons. Desert Eagles, Mossbergs, grenades, a couple sticks of dyn-o-mite (??) and some other goodies. Now cue the zombie swarm.
This is just horrible, in the most literal sense of the word. An action scene so long it has two soundtracks. All the action plays to some overloud and harshly grating techno music, but this one gets a bad rap track to boot. It's also complete with some of the most sacrilegious use of the 'Matrix's bullet-time ever. There should be a commitee overseeing this kind of stuff. If that wasn't enough (apparently not), they like to splice in footage from the video game straight into the scene. When a zombie gets shot, some of the time you'll be 'treated' to a pixelated shot of one exploding. Not that there's not enough of that going on, 'House of the Dead' delivers zombie guts in spates. Spates, I says, SPATES!. The action throughout the entire movie follows suit, and I can't count how many times we see characters escaping an explosion in slow motion.
They even go so far as to explain the presence of zombies on the island (or reanimated homo-sapiens as the suits at the end refer to them as). You see, hundreds of years ago there was this crazy spanish doctor who.... forget it.
It's not even worth mentioning the acting, but I will anyway. It's just bad. To be fair, the movie's a farce and the dialogue is abysmal. Some of my favourites include:
"Let's check out this book. It looks pretty old, maybe it'll help us."
Protagonist: "You created this so you could be immortal. Why?"
Evil Spanish Dude: "To live forever!"
Shakespeare, it ain't. The entire movie comes across as a videogame, which at first might seem suitable. Problem is, that's what videogames are for - to be videogames. It's just not in a movie's job description. A couple times when a character dies we're subjected to a rotating shot of them which fades to red. This type of cross format media abomination should have been strangled at birth.
Usually movies this bad are good, just because they're enjoyable on a different level. Maybe they're saved by adorable cheesiness, a tongue in cheek attitude, or some vestige of something the viewer would like to see. 'House of the Dead' takes itself so seriously the only thing you can feel for it is pity. If you're looking for something to ridicule, and don't mind throwing away little pieces of your life, then you might get something out of this. The movie just begs you to interject your little witty comments that no one else ever seems to get.
The existence of 'House of the Dead' can be explained pretty easily. A better movie which never got made lost voluntary control of its bowels at the moment of death, and they stamped 'House of the Dead' on what trickled out. It may be a ghastly image, but it's a damn sight better than what you'll see in the movie.